UP Agency | Digital Marketing Agency Toronto

How your brand can benefit from User Generated Content

How your brand can benefit from User Generated Content 2074 1263 Adrian Lischer

This just in, “everyone is creating content”, and for those of us whose mission it is to grow brands, that is fantastic news. There is a lot of pressure on brands to create engaging content. One of the most effective ways that brands are now using to catapult their brand awareness online is through “User Generated Content” or UGC.

What is UGC you ask?

UGC is simply content about your brand that is created by your customers or fans. Whether that content is photos, videos, product reviews, or testimonials. This is what’s key, it is user generated content.

Brands are now encouraging the public to jump on social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook & Instagram to share their customer experiences.

The Toronto Raptors launched the “We The North” campaign with a huge success.

Coinciding with the first time the team had been into the playoffs in their 20-year franchise history. The timing and execution was perfect.

Fans and supporters of the team were asked to upload their photos and videos with the hashtag #wethenorth to twitter and Instagram. Fans uploaded photos wearing t-shirts, attending games, and even standing outside the stadium in the public viewing area dubbed “Jurassic Park” to show their team pride.

“We the North” created a movement, long before the branding was official for the team, which shows the power and momentum of user generated content.

Email Campaign

Social media isn’t the only place that you can use UGC to create engagement between you and your customers. More sophisticated marketers are starting to integrate user-generated content into their email campaigns with great success. Salesforce.com released a study showing that UGC can drive a 73% increase in email click-through rates.

One of the biggest benefits of incorporating consumer content into your email marketing is that it saves you tons of time. Constantly coming up with new topics of your own is now complimented by asking your customers to take the lead in driving creativity and enthusiasm around your brand.

The secret sauce in the popularity of UGC is that it adds human perspective to your product pitch. You gain an incredible amount of street cred when real customers take the lead in telling the masses how fantastic your products or services are.

This approach to using your customers and advocates is authentic. Using this approach as a part of an email marketing campaign, can build a tremendous amount of trust in your brand.

So how can you start integrating UGC into your email marketing? Here are a few ideas to get started right now:

  • Come up with a brand-specific hashtag, ask customers to submit via social media, and then feature your favourite responses in your next email.
  • In your next newsletter ask subscribers to email photos or stories of their experiences with your products or services, Use these in your next blog post.
  • Try to create a brand centric theme for submissions that are tied to an upcoming promotion or event

To give your subscribers an extra push to submit, you can make it a contest, with a fun gift or other prize for the most creative submission.

Regardless of how you go about using UGC in your emails, make sure that you make the effort to get permission from the original creator to use their content. And remember to be clear on how you will be using the content.

Once you get the go-ahead, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of UGC. Videos or photos may work well for one brand, while testimonials work better for another.

Lets say creating a fresh steam of content is one of the pain points in your marketing strategy, using UGC is essential in contemporary content marketing tactics and would be a great addition until you come up with your next big content idea. Still not sure what steps to take? No worries, it’s what we do. Give us a call and find out how we can implement user generated content into your content marketing tactics.

UP Agency | Digital Marketing Agency Toronto

4 Ways on Getting your Content Marketing Started

4 Ways on Getting your Content Marketing Started 2074 1263 Adrian Lischer

Content marketing refers to a deliberate approach to marketing that involves the creation, and distribution of content that is valuable, informative and consistently directed to a particular demographic of consumers to cause profitable customer action. Well that was a mouthful.

In lehmans terms, its creating content that your customers find valuable. However, instead of the traditional manner of pitching your goods in a traditional sales manner, you provide information that encourages prospective customers to purchase items. This is done through forms like blogging, social media posting, podcasts and the list goes on. Many leading brands e.g. Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and others utilize this form of marketing to drive their business profits. Small businesses have also begun to execute this method of marketing, since it has proven to be successful.

They key aspect that differentiates content marketing from other forms of advertising is the keyword ‘valuable’. The content has to appeal and cause people to seek it out. Keep reading below to find out how you can begin creating a content marketing strategy.

Create A Documented Strategy

As per a study by Content Marketing Institute (CMI), it was found that the lack of a documented strategy is a primary cause for the failures of content marketing. According to this study, 60% of companies with a strategy reported positive ROI margins. It was also found that only 7% of those without any form of strategy brought in profitable ROI.

Publishing for the sake of publishing is not recommended. You need to focus on create quality content and tracking to check whether it generates marketing-qualified leads. If you work in sales, get ready. You may have to work overtime for all the leads that you’re about to bring in. Hopefully you get compensated well, but that’s for another article (check back later for more!)

When creating a documented strategy, start by creating a SMART goal. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Creating a SMART goal will help you on your path to establishing a defined content marketing strategy.

Create Resource Articles

There are alot of articles out there (mind blowing, I know). Writing a resource article is ideal in the commencement stages of trying to launch your content marketing efforts. Your content needs to generate a consistent and increasing rate of traffic before seeing any positive ROI.

A resource article is a well-researched article, which revolves around useful information that your target audience will read and find value in. The content of resource articles should be good enough for people to spend money on. For example, when a skateboarder buys a skating magazine, he or she will tike the time to read through the main articles and look at all the pictures. Once they are done, they will proceed to go through the ads. This consumer has paid good money for a periodical full of articles that are offering him or her value. 56% of marketers believe that personalized content promotes higher engagement rates. Resource materials in content marketing have to be targeted toward your specific niche due to the face that you are trying to establish that value. Moral of the story, if you’re selling skateboard trucks, you’re not going to use a homesense magazine.

Assign Each Content A Goal

During a workshop at Content Marketing World, one of the Speakers, Ardath from Marketing Interactions, challenged each of the attendees to assign a purpose to each piece of content they churn out to the world.


Social Media Agency Toronto

Although many people post content with a simple goal of driving consumers from one piece of content to another, they disregard the fact that each individual piece of work should have a goal attached to it.

The content as a whole can be geared to achieve goals like brand awareness, drive more purchases or build up a subscriber base. Regardless of these common aims, you should operate in a manner by which you can track the performance of your content marketing tactics to particular targets.

Email Marketing As A Form Of Content Marketing

Emails, according to VentureBeat, offer the largest overall reach, compared to any other content distribution channel.


They further go to state that; for every dollar spent, email gives back a staggering $38 in ROI. This is because emails are tailored and targeted directly to the consumers’ inbox. It’s an incredibly frugal method for gaining customers.

If you are aiming to increase profits, you must absolutely give email a try. This is especially important when you consider that approximately 98% of people who visit your page will not transact with you immediately.

Unfortunately, content marketing isn’t as easy as I or other articles may make it seem. But it also, is not as difficult as some may argue. There is no set path that needs to be undertaken, rather there are key aspects that if followed, can result in success. Other than creating value, another key is being persistent. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes consistent time and effort to see the fruits of your labour.

If you think you may need some help in developing an adequate content strategy, give us a call. It’s kind of what we do. Quite well I might add. We can see where you’re at right now, and tell you where you can ramp up your CMS (content marketing strategy) or if you just need to be a little more persistent. Let’s grab a coffee and talk content marketing, or sports. Either or works.

UP Agency | Digital Marketing Agency Toronto

What is the Difference Between Sleazy and Sincere sales?

What is the Difference Between Sleazy and Sincere sales? 2074 1263 Mike Arsenault

As someone with a long history in retail, I’ve had to do my fair share of sales. Can you guess what my most hated term is? It’s a real shocker, “upselling“. I can’t stand the word and all the cringe worthy feelings I associate with it.

I often worked in areas where it was clear my clients could not afford more than they originally set out to purchase. Something about upselling and convincing someone to buy a shoe protector, or 2 for 1 BOGO socks didn’t exactly sit right with me. Knowing that it was me pressuring the customer and not trying to fulfill their needs felt dishonest. Maybe my stats weren’t the best; maybe I didn’t have the best IPS or IPT’s (items per sale / transaction). But I did excel at one facet that never showed up on a spreadsheet but was beneficial in the long run, trust.

Relationship Building

In the world of digital marketing, trust is essential. Relationship building is at the core of all digital strategies. I think I was onto this when I began my retail experience in high school not even realizing I was developing a skill. I’ve been told I have a knack for sales, but I would have to disagree, I think I have a knack for connecting with people.

Here’s the issue. When it comes to a career, you have to do whatever it takes to hit quota. If the pressure is on you, you’ll put pressure on clients. One or two upsells probably won’t affect how you sleep at night, but if you find yourself feeling guilt often, maybe it’s time to try something different. A transaction is simply a connection between a human with a need and human who can fill that need. Let me just ask you this question:

Would you not want to be treated with dignity and respect if you were the one making the purchase?

Have you ever made a purchase and instantly felt regret? You don’t actually like what you’ve bought, maybe so much so that you return it. You were probably a victim of sleazy sales.

How do you recognize sleazy sales?

Talking about why your price is better than competitors
Fitting customers into stereotypes or general buyers personas
Neglecting the consumers’ needs

What my managers failed to recognize was that upselling doesn’t always have to take place in the same transaction. Building trust is what brings the customers back. Experience is everything. Would you rather go to a 5 star restaurant with crappy service, or a 3 star restaurant where you feel at home? It’s a pretty easy answer.

The 3 C’s

Personally, I always aim to give my honest opinion to suit each individual customer. If it works for them, great – if it doesn’t, I know that I had developed a relationship strong enough to ensure we will cross paths again. I recently read a great article on Entrepreneur about this very same topic, ‘How to Sell Without Feeling Sleazy’. They target what I would refer to as the 3 C’s of a human transaction.

  • Connection
  • Communication
  • Confidence

Self-explanatory, no? These 3 C’s should be the bedrock of every single interaction you have when conducting a sale. I consider this conversation marketing. You are offering a product/service, that everyone will use in his or her own unique way. Why treat every customer the same way when the application of your product/service will vary depending on the individual’s needs?

The difference between sleazy and sincere sales is that you connect with your customer, listen to their needs and sell with their best interests in mind as well as your own.

If you’re tired of continuously being bombarded by pitches, and numbers and stats – come have a coffee with us. We listen; I’ll even splurge for the scones. Every transaction is a two way street, and a good sale is one where both parties leave happy.

UP Agency | Digital Marketing Agency Toronto

How to Become a Better Leader in your Industry

How to Become a Better Leader in your Industry 2074 1263 Mike Arsenault

Leaders have a magical way of captivating a room don’t they? They inspire, motivate and bring out the best in the people around them. It’s seems inherently natural to them, something they were born with, but that’s not always the case. The traits of a leader can in fact be learned. I’ll let you in on a secret; a huge part of their success is based in confidence.

Step 1: Read, Read & Read Some More

Say you look at the daily routine of the most successful individuals on the planet, you will learn that reading is critical to their daily routine. Want to become a better leader in your industry or personal life? Start reading now. I can’t stress how important reading has become for my own self-improvement. To be a great leader, you need a great mind. LifeHack has an amazing article that outlines why you should read every single day and 10 benefits that will accompany it.

If you are truly motivated to become a better and effective leader, I suggest you check out two books in particular that helped transcend my leadership capabilities:

How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Micro Messaging – Stephen Young

The first book is How-To predicated on overall personal development. It’s intended to foster prosperity, in both your relationships and your career. There is a specific section on how to become a leader that revolves around authenticity and honesty with yourself and others. The second is about body language, and how to use it to your advantage. Both are fascinating that will offer tremendous insight on your path to developing superior leadership skills.

Step 2: Coles Notes Version

Now perhaps you don’t have the time right now to read these books, no worries. I’ll give you the Coles notes version of many leadership development articles.

  • Stay positive
  • Be a learner
  • Stay  passionate
  • Be a good listener

Have you ever met a super successful person with a lot of free time on their hands? Doubtful. For a driven sales person, budding entrepreneur, or single parent – leisure time can be difficult to come by. Managing one’s time is essential to overall success. It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are, if you can’t manage your time it’s going to be difficult to get anywhere. Fear not, FullContact offers some tips and apps you can use to manage your time more effectively.

Step 3: Three Major Keys If You Haven’t Absorbed Any of the Above

I could sit here and write book after book on how to develop your leadership qualities many of which you’ve probably read a million times. There are 3 very important skills which are often over shadowed by the usual:

  • Be unique
  • Appreciate the uniqueness of others
  • Challenge yourself and those around you

Fostering an environment of authenticity will promote emotional connections with those around you, thus resulting in the growth of effective teamwork. No one has ever been inspired or motivated by a cookie cutter boss so try and strive to be viewed as a mentor and a role model. If the success of your business is your top priority, understanding the importance of teamwork through improving your leadership skills should be too.

Let’s finish this off with a little exercise. Are there any leaders that you admire; a successful CEO, captain of a sporting team? Maybe there’s even a superhero you feel exhibits remarkable leadership qualities *cough* Captain America *cough*. Leave a comment below and let us know. I could talk superheroes for days!

We are digital marketing leaders, and we are always willing to grow with other leaders together. We understand the importance of teamwork. Not only teamwork, but effective teamwork. If you think we would be able to help, give us a call and we would be more than happy to grow together.

UP Agency | Digital Marketing Agency Toronto

Instagram Tips for Beautifying You Feed

Instagram Tips for Beautifying You Feed 2074 1263 Adrian Lischer

Want more followers? Try polishing up your personal Instagram aesthetic. While your personal Insta may look perfect as a jumbled mess of love, the same cannot be said for a professional account. There are a number of elements that all need to be taken into account with every post. All it takes in one ill-fitting photo to throw your theme off. Here are some Instagram tips on creating a stellar Instagram feed.

Take Instagram worthy photos

First off, there are no concrete rules but when in doubt: Shoot from above, use natural light and avoid clutter. Let items hang outside the frame, this looks much more natural. Instagram loves white space!


Do you want a warm and cozy Instagram theme? How about minimalist and fresh? Colour and overall tone of your images will affect the way your photos feel. Pick a tone and stick with it. Also consider the saturation of colour. Do you want your theme to be bright and playful or muted and soft?

Notice the very obvious colour themes in these 4 accounts:


If you’re going to use filters, and we hope that you do, make sure to use the same filter consistently. Much like colour and tone, it is important to keep the same feel throughout the feed. It’s more pleasing to the eye and creates a nice flow.

Use more tools

Photo editing apps are key. Some Instgramers will use more than one app for a single photo. Also, don’t forget, you can access Instagram from your computer so if you have an incredible camera, use it.

A few of our favs:

Snapspeed (Powerful editing and filters)
VSCO (Custom exposure, perfect for low light)
BLACK (B+W, editing capabilities)
Hyperlapse (Slow from 1x to 12x speed, stabilization for video)
Boomerang (Fun looping videos)
Perfect365 (For the selfie queen, beauty enhancer)
PicStitch (Collages)

If it doesn’t fit, don’t post it

At some point you will take a really amazing photo and you’ll want to add it to your Instagram but something will feel off. If it doesn’t fit the overall aesthetic of the feed, don’t post it. It will stick out and ruin the flow. Save it for Twitter or Facebook.

Did we manage to help a little bit? Of course we did. You have just gained some insightful Instagram tips on your path to learning how to use Instagram for your professional business. If you’re still having trouble, give us a call. I mean, we’re no nail salon or barbershop, but we know our way around an Instagram.

UP Agency | Digital Marketing Agency Toronto

6 Steps to Great Inbound Customer Service

6 Steps to Great Inbound Customer Service 1452 884 Adrian Lischer

How do you get people who have never used your product of service to promote your brand?

The internet is awash with information – blog posts, stats galore, etc, on how to turn your customers into brand promoters, but very little has been said about getting your leads to recommend your brand to other people.

Why? Well I’m going to tell you.

It’s all about one thing, and that’s excellent customer service. You’re welcome.

Because getting potential buyers (or influencers) to promote your product or services when they haven’t yet used it is nothing but pure lies. It is simply a fake review that could affect your brand negatively. Moral of the story, do not pay for reviews.

If you have already succeeded in captivating total strangers to the point where they are likely to buy your products, then you want to complete the cycle by getting them to buy your great product. It is only after you have turned your leads to your customers that they can become promoters of your brand.

According to the inbound methodology, you have to attract total strangers (eg, website visitors), convert them to leads, turn them into customers by closing a sale, and lastly, a delighting them – exceeding their expectations, getting them to interact with your brand and ultimately getting them to promote your brand.

So how do you pull this off?

Simple. Make your customers fall in love with you!

As you may already know; simply sending a “Thank You” email to a customer who just purchased your product will not automatically turn them to a raving fan. Instead, you have to enchant them; you have to make them fall in love with your brand.

6 tips to make them fall in love with you

Solve Your Customers’ Problems

This goes without saying, you cannot get anyone, much less your customers, to promote your business if you have a less than worthwhile product. If your products fail to solve the problem your customers initially thought it would when they so happily exchanged it for their credit card or debit, then don’t expect them to tell anyone else to buy it. A great product is the first step into turning leads to promoters.

Be Trustworthy

Don’t tell your customers they can trust you,

Show it

Be honest. A 2014 survey by Cohn and Wolfe says 91% of people care about companies communicating honestly about products and services. Be clear on what you offer and do more than your promise your customers, not less. Trust is the backbone of practicing excellent customer service.

Be Transparent

In a world of Wikileaks, it sure pays to be transparent. Find out what information your customers find valuable and care about. Take a page out of Whole Foods playbook and make it available to them.
Be True 
In a world that is connected through a plethora of social platforms, it is all too easy to want to be many things to too many people. But you don’t want to wear yourself thin. You need to be true to your brand, your mission and values. Authenticity is essential in the world of inbound marketing, and you will be rewarded for it.

Listen and Act

Never assume that you know your customers’ needs more than they do. Rather, try to listen to what your customer feels or says and act on that information in a way that your customer finds valuable. Some will say things you don’t like, but you cannot simply run or wish them away. You need to attend to customer complaints and compensate where necessary. You cannot get your existing customer to bring new buyers to you if you don’t treat them well. A disgruntled customer is bad for business.


Reward your customer
Put in place a referral program that rewards customers who send business your way. This will encourage them to spread the word about your brand. The reward can be anything from a discount to a free service. What you decide to give is your decision, but ensure it’s valuable to the customer.
There you have it. No matter whether the consumer is a lead, or a purchaser, you must treat them with the same excellent customer service that the inbound approach is predicated upon. We like to think we’re experts in the field of inbound. Give us a call and we can prove it to you.

UP Agency | Digital Marketing Agency Toronto

How to Optimize your Landing Page for SEO

How to Optimize your Landing Page for SEO 2074 1263 Adrian Lischer

How to optimize your landing page for seo

A landing page simply refers to a section of a website (usually the homepage) that you are sent to after clicking on a hyperlink from another webpage.

When it comes to getting maximum lead generation from SEO, implementing a few SEO strategies on your landing pages are a great option to achieve this target. A well-made landing page will drive new leads to your site each month. Many potential prospects out there are looking for items or services that one might render.

What are the essential components of a landing page that be bolstered by SEO? Well let me tell you.

The Page Title

Simple enough right? You would think so, but the page title is a crucial element of your SEO. It pays to be accurate, HubSpot found a study that showcased how headlines with clarification performed 38% better than those without, it was study of over 3.3 million paid link headlines. I’d say that’s reliable.

You need to make sure that the content of your article, is clarified using the same keywords in your title. It should be kept short and include high-quality keywords. The aim of structuring an ideal page title is to rank well within branded searches. Focus in on your keywords, and don’t be over the top. The customer is looking for something, might as well make it easy on them.

The Landing Page URL

The landing page URL is another crucial element of improving your SEO. This will help spiders find your content.

When creating the URL for your landing page, throw in high quality keywords that match the page title, and the content that is on the landing page. Consistency is essential when optimizing for SEO. A great tip I have come to utilize when creating URLs for various landing pages would be to create URLs for search engines & people. I got the tip from a great article on Landerapp.

The Headline Tag

Just like a good article, the headline can be one of the most captivating points of your content. It should be information reach, easy to clarify and the customer should know exactly what content to expect.

The headline tag is also referred to as the ‘H1’ tag. The importance of H1 is that it does not only help your SEO, but also makes it easier for the visitor on your page to scan the content. It will also help Google understand your content as well. There should never be more than one H1 tag on a page. Search engines will recognize this and began to diminish your ranking. Make sure there are quality keywords in your H1 tag and they reflect the content that is about to follow.

Link Building

Another large part of a particular landing page’s authority is predicated upon off-page sources. What does this mean? It means you need to have high quality outbound links, as well as high quality inbound links.

If you type the term ‘outbound links seo’ on Google, you will find that the first result is a quoted study that shows a positive correlation between a page’s outgoing links and its search rankings. Reboot (firm that conducted the study) hypothesized that Google can determine the authority of a page or website based on what other authority sources it associates itself with. It’s kind of like that saying where you are a reflection of your 5 closest friends. Except in this case, it’s your closest authority outbound links.

Inbound links are also referred to as backlinks. This is what constitutes you as an authority figure. The more backlinks you have, the higher your authority and relevance. Google can’t tell me how relevant I am, but it can definitely tell me how relevant my website is.

I would suggest that you close this article right now and begin implementing these strategies for yourself immediately.

Or you know, you can just give us a call.

Yeah, that second option works a lot better.